Fontographer Vs. Fontlab...

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Jason Alejandro's picture
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Joined: 18 Apr 2005 - 7:59am
Fontographer Vs. Fontlab...
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This summer another student and myself will participate in a Students Partnering with Faculty Summer Research Program along with a faculty member/design professional. The program will involve researching typography, studying typefaces, typographic classification, and meeting with design professionals. Then, in late summer/early fall we will each begin work to design and create our own typeface.

I was wondering if those of you who have experience designing and creating typefaces can recommend the best computer program for it. Work will be done, of course, on Macs. Macromedia’s Fontographer seems to be the first choice, but does FontLab seem a more appropriate choice?

Please discuss which programs you prefer and the reasons why. Any information you can provide would be extremely helpful.

Alan Dague-Greene's picture
Joined: 7 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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I would respectfully suggest that you not consider Fontographer. It is like riding to the Oscars in a Pinto. Wouldn’t you rather take a limousine? (That would be FontLab.)

Fontographer has not been updated in 10 (11?) years, and is therefore stuck in the dark ages of typeface development. FontLab has an active and responsive team of programmers that make appearances on these and other forums. FontLab can be intimidating at first, but it can also be as simple as you want it to be, and the drawing tools are unmatched anywhere (including Illustrator and Freehand).

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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Jason, I don’t have any experience with TypeTool, but apparently it makes fully functioning Type 1 and TrueType fonts, but not OpenType.

It’s probably your best bet, but I thought I’d put in a good word for Fontographer, as I’m loth to automatically assign things to the scrapheap just because they’re not bloated with all the latest features.

Kids like Christian tend to be dazzled by a profusion of candy-iconed buttons and sliders, whether or not they actually do anything useful ;-)

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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The choice of tools depends on the task at hand. Believe it or not, I still used Fontographer 3.5 for some of my tasks, for two very important reasons: (a) its AI/EPS import feature is unsurpassed (FOG 4.1 doesn’t import a full em square, and FontLab’s approach is beyond bizarre); and (b) all of its simple transform tools are directly accessible via keystroke combinations (both FOG 4.1 and FontLab require mousing around, which slows you down).

One of the few things that FOG 4.1 is still good for is path clean-up although, even at its lowest setting, it’s a little promiscuous deleting points. However, unlike FontLab, it does NOT see flat curves, semi-horizontal vectors and semi-vertical vectors everywhere. If you have gentle curves in your outlines, FontLab’s OPTIMIZE command is likely to turn them into stick figures.

Adam Twardoch's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2002 - 7:36pm
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Nick C.,

1. I’d be interested to know why you consinder FontLab’s EPS import “beyond bizarre”.

2. Have you tried tweaking the Optimize options in FontLab preferences?

Regards,
Adam Twardoch

Diederik Corvers's picture
Joined: 9 Oct 2004 - 2:19am
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Adam,
for me too, the eps-import in FL is strange, to say the least. I still prefer drawing in Illustrator. To get your glyphs imported at the right size and place you need to copy a rectangle, which starts at the zero point and goes to cap height, from FL and paste it into Illustrator. It has to be at the zero-point in the Ill. document and it gets to be such an absurd size that if you draw a string of characters they soon run of the page, even if you draw on a large ‘page’. In fontographer you just take care the letters you draw are between two lines, and these lines will be cap height and deschender depth, no matter how big or small the drawing in Ill. Being able to draw a string of characters (or words, if you want) is the main reason for me still using Illustrator, apart from the morre easily available drawing and editing tools.

Best,
Diederik

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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Adam, do you think that you could work out some sort of plug-in for FL that would make the Fontographer noises while the program and/or user performs rudimentary tasks?? That would be wicked stuff

Alan Dague-Greene's picture
Joined: 7 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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I second the motion for Fontographer sound effects. Nothing quite like that sensual slurping noise when a point snaps to a guideline, or the satisfaction that comes with successfully generating a font and being rewarded with a “BEEEEEOOOOOOOOOIIIP!” (It sorta sounds like the word “beautiful”, but spoken using your outside voice and without any of the middle vowels.)

Alan Dague-Greene's picture
Joined: 7 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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I mean consonants.

One thing I do miss about Fog is the ability to very quickly interpolate kerning between two fonts.

Jordan Davies's picture
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Joined: 17 Jun 2002 - 8:57am
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I am an old geezer who uses, still, Fontographer, and TypeTool. Fontographer for the autotrace feature, TypeTool for the precision of point placement. Don’t need the goofball sounds of Fontographer and the screen display in Fontographer is dreadful. There is an antialiasing feature in TypeTool obviously, so lines look smooth, unilke in Fonto. I am sure FontLab is great, but can’t afford it right now, but will get it in future. And, yes, you can upgrade to it from TypeTool.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Adam:

I would submit that the other responses about FL’s strange EPS behavior make my point. The reason that I believe FOG 3.5’s EPS import is superior is that it assumes that what you import in 1000 points high (more about this later); FOG 4.1 assumes that what you import is equal to the ascent of the font; I cannot, for the life of me, figure out WHAT FL assumes — all that I know is that, in my experience, the manual instructions don’t work, and a couple of workarounds I’ve seen posted elsewhere don’t work either.

When I export EPS for FOG 3.5, I place tick marks at ascent and descent on all my characters (a simple process that takes less than five minutes). Then, when I import the EPS characters into FOG 3.5, they fall exactly where they ought to, and they are correctly proportioned to one another. The only way to accomplish this in FOG 4.1 is to set the ascent at 1000, with no descent, import all your characters, reset the ascent and descent, then move all of the characters down so they sit on the new baseline.

I took your advice about tweaking the OPTIMIZE options and the results were mixed. I could eliminate the “stick figure” results, but the downside was that some redundant points were NOT cleaned up. The various combination I tried of the ten available choices seemed to yield either too much or too little, and none were “just right.”

One the other hand, in my humble opinion, the outline cleanup features in DTL’s ContourMaster Light are superior to ANYTHING else out there, BUT…their 15000-units-to-the-em measurement system causes some “point shift” once you convert the outlines back to a 1000-unit em, so you still have to check every character to correct the instances where dividing by fifteen produced unsatisfactory results.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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I recently made an OpenType family of Handsome; one of the versions had a filter effect that roughened the path outline, adding lots of points.

I can’t remember exactly how I did it, but for various reasons to do with the relative merits and compatibilities of the applications (and my familiarity with them), it involved moving each glyph outline between Illustrator 8, Illustrator CS, FontLab, and Fog. Talk about a workaround!
rough

Scott "Israel" Seldowitz's picture
Joined: 7 May 2007 - 12:08pm
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I fave both, FL Studio and Fog 5 - both from Pyrus.

The new Fog 5 is great. Now FL Studio must catch up.

I use MS Volt seriously. FLS fonts import, but not Fog 5. Why? A bug?

Adam Twardoch's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2002 - 7:36pm
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You mean, .otf or .ttf fonts generated by Fontographer 5 don't open in Microsoft VOLT? At all?

Tim Ahrens's picture
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Joined: 28 Sep 2004 - 9:15am
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Deleting nodes is much more precise in Fontographer. You could blame FontLab's integer coordinates but I am quite sure this can't be the main reason.
Node deletion may seem like an insignificant detail but I believe this is one of the reasons why for some designers Fontographer just feels better.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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There were some things that I preferred about Fontographer, but being old, I have forgotten what they were.

Ad3m's picture
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Joined: 16 Aug 2009 - 5:13pm
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You don't need a UniqueID. They are far more trouble than they are worth. Adobe stopped putting them in our western fonts several years back, when our testing showed no significant performance differences for fonts without UniqueIDs.

Back when printers had 8 MHz processors and data was sent to them on a 57K pipeline, the caching really did help. Today, not so much so.

As for FOND IDs, they have their own problems, in that the ID range also indicates the encoding. So even if you want to keep UniqueIDs, tying them to the FOND IDs seems like a bad idea.

Regards,
Sohbet | muhabbet

Derek Weathersbee's picture
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 - 9:46am
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A New Tool for Illustrator folks: TypeBridge

Hi. I just wanted to comment in regards to the folks who were having difficulty with the transfer between Illustrator and TypeTool/FontLab. The way that FontLab works is logical, given that in font world there are no decimal numbers. However, for folks who are very comfortable in Illustrator, it would be nice to have a tool that automatically rounds all points (which have already been drawn) to whole points while keeping the integrity of the font.

But I once drew a typeface, and when I discovered the way FontLab works, I had to go in and move each anchor (ones that resulted from effects, rounding, etc). I had set up the grip as directed by FontLab, but that doesn't cover you in all situations.

So I have created a script that takes care of the non-integer anchors. If you have already drawn your typeface, or don't want to be too concerned with snapping while illustrating, this Illustrator script will be perfect for you. It automatically rounds all selected anchors to the closest whole integer, whether that means up or down. With a standard UPM of 1000, the tweaking is hardly noticeable. With a higher value for more precision, the tweaking would be nearly impossible to see. However, it makes it so that your art transfers perfectly into FontLab/TypeTool. I know there are some purists who will object, but to those of us who are very comfortable in Illustrator, this is an invaluabale tool, I believe.

Here it is: TypeBridge

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback. (Not hatemail).

Derek Weathersbee's picture
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 - 9:46am
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The url has changed to a more intuitive one: http://www.derekweathersbee.com/products/typebridge-script

Jason Alejandro's picture
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Joined: 18 Apr 2005 - 7:59am
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Actually, I’d probably try to go in a Vette or a ‘67 Camaro, but yea, I would prefer a limo over the Pinto.

Thanks for the info, I appreciate it!

Mark Simonson's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2001 - 11:00am
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In FOG 4.1.3 (Mac) art pasted in from Illustrator is scaled up to the full em square height. Holding down the command and option keys while choosing Paste from the menu scales it to the ascent. Holding just the option key causes the art to scale the same as FontLab (1 point (in Illustrator) equal to 1 em unit) with the bottom of the art resting on the baseline. These optional paste commands seem to work if you do it completely from the keyboard, you have to choose the Paste command from the menu with the mouse. This could be some peculiarity due to running FOG in Classic on OS X. I seem to recall that you used to be able to just use the keyboard.

I used to draw in Illustrator and move art to FOG, and that workflow kept me from switching to FontLab for quite a while, even after I owned a copy. But copying and pasting from Illustrator to FL is not that hard once you realize how it works.

Scale your Illustrator art so that 1 point corresponds to 1 em unit (i.e., if your target cap height is 700 em units, make your caps in Illustrator 700 points tall). Move the Illustrator ruler zero point to the origin point of the character art you want to copy. Copy from Illustrator, paste in FL. Simple.

The biggest problems are getting the clipboard preferences set correctly in Illustrator (should be AICB/Preserve Paths) and dealing with rounding-down errors (no fractional em units in fonts, despite what FOG may lead you to believe).

Personally, I have completely switched to drawing directly in FontLab. It’s much more efficient and I wish I’d starting doing it sooner. I blame FOG’s (in my opinion) clumsy drawing tools for my previous reliance on Illustrator. I think I would have been better off drawing in FOG, too, in hindsight.

Adam Twardoch's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2002 - 7:36pm
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Nick,

about importing EPS, the answer is very simple: FontLab does not assume *anything*. If in Preferences / General / Do not rescale… is deactivated, then 1 point in EPS = 1 FontLab unit. When the option is enabled, then FontLab assumes that what you import is 700 units high.

Also, you don’t need to place any tick marks whatsoever. Just place the characters in Illustrator of Freehand so that the 0,0 point of the EPS document is on the font’s origin point. In other words: you can always work in Illustrator taking points EXACTLY as if they were font units in FL. It’s actually pretty simple.

More information is at:
http://groups.msn.com/fontlab/tipsandtricks.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=2675

Regards,
Adam

Christian's picture
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Joined: 16 Apr 2005 - 10:57am
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I thought I might get some bites on my fog troll :-) The best solution for FL import is ScanFont. It’s truly amazing. You import your eps, and it automatically pulls all the characters out into FontLab.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Adam,

I tried the workaround based on the previous tip upon which the one you referenced was based, and got nowhere; however, I will try it again…maybe I missed something the last time around.

Assuming that I will be both pleasantly surprised that this method works and terribly chagrined that I was such a dunce the last time I tried it, there is still another however to consider…the method you propose requires that the origin point be moved for EVERY character that you export, which for me typically is no fewer than 120 characters. Add to that Illustrator’s page size limit of 16,383 pts AND only one page per document, and I would also have to create SEVERAL documents to handle my super-sized outlines.

Given all the extra effort involved, I fail to see where FontLab’s method is an improvement over the way FOG 3.5 did it. Don’t get me wrong…I think FontLab is a GREAT program and, if I had to choose only one font creation tool to work with, FL would be it. But it ain’t perfect (got more petty gripes, if you’re interested).

Christian's picture
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Joined: 16 Apr 2005 - 10:57am
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My pre-scanfont workaround was to develop my characters at 1/10 scale in Illustrator along the baseline of the artboard. I then used an Illustrator action to resize, move the x position to 0 and cut. It works great, if you want to do it by hand. Nowadays, ScanFont is the only way to go. If nothing else, it beats the heck out of tickmarks.

The other option is to write a JavaScript for Illustrator that automatically rolls out a bunch of separate EPS files, and a Python script for FL to pull them all in. ;-) (it’s not as hard as you might think)

Diederik Corvers's picture
Joined: 9 Oct 2004 - 2:19am
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Instead of creating several Illustrator documents it is earier to make more layers in one document.
FWIW

Adam Twardoch's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2002 - 7:36pm
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Nick,

1. Are you designing all your entire alphabet in Illustrator?

2. Have you tried ScanFont 4 from http://www.fontlab.com ?

Regards,
Adam

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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No, I create all of my outlines in CorelDraw 9 (the last fully-featured release before Corel started screwing a good program up), for a few very good reasons (other than the fact I’ve been using CorelDraw since v.1)…

(a) one tool and one tool only is required to add, delete, edit and align nodes, AND to convert line segments to line or curve, AND to make connections sharp, smooth or symmetrical; and (b) CorelDraw is the only program I know of that has an INTERACTIVE outline smoother, which allows simplification on a scale of 1-100 (27 seems to work best for me). And I work on a PC (Windows 2000 Professional) because (a) I am not so in love with the wallpaper on my desktop that I must see some portion of it at all times; (b) contrary to the conclusion that Steve Jobs reached over twenty years ago (and sticks to, till this day), I CAN operate a mouse with more than one button on it, and prefer to do so; and (c) love those WIndows keyboard shortcuts. I DO have an iMac running OS 9 (which I use primarily font testing Mac fonts, now that I no longer use Fontographer to generate my Mac fonts) and a Mac Mini running OS 10.3 (also for testing, but I now generate all Mac fonts with Type Tool 2). Still, my trusty Dell remains my workhorse of choice.

Given the foregoing along with the fact that ALL of my fonts drawn on the computer, ScanFont4 is probably not my cup of tea…nor am I particuarly inclined to spend another $200 in order to get a $500 program to do what a 15-year-old 16-bit program does very well.

Adam Twardoch's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2002 - 7:36pm
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I started using Corel DRAW with version 1.2. I agree that version 9 rocks. On modern computers, it’s lightning fast. I also use version 12 because it “sort of” supports Unicode, but I think version 9 is very good. If you happen to have Corel DRAW 11 or 12, check the credits in the About box, you should find my name there ;)

I agree with other points you make. BTW, ScanFont 4 costs $99, not $200. Since Corel DRAW supports multiple layers *and* multiple pages, you should have no problem to set it up to work in points, and use the (0,0) point as base point — no? I’ve been doing it for quite some time now.

In fact, since Corel DRAW supports scripting, it should be possible to make a tool that automatically converts layers or pages into separate EPS files. Take a look at File Converter at http://www.oberonplace.com/draw/drawscripts/megagallery/

Also, do you know http://www.isocalc.com/cooltools/ ?

You might contact one of the authors of these tools to write a small script for you that does some handy pre-processing for your characters, and export them into EPS.

Regards,
Adam

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Adam,

Thanks for the links: there are a couple of tools there which should make the process of scaling and positioning much easier than they normally would be in CorelDraw. I will give them a try, and see if I can’t conquer this EPS import problem and eventually retire trusty old FOG 3.5.

While I have your attention, there are a few other FL “problems” I would like to bring to the fore…

First, it would be REALLY nice to be able to set more defaults in the FONT INFO dialogue. I am the only designer using FL on my computer, so it would be convenient if the program would remember my personal URL, website URL and licensing info…no biggy, but it would be convenient.

Second, while FL’s zoom capabilities FAR exceed those of FOG, they still stop a little shy of where I’d like. Being able to zoom into, say, a 3x3 point grid would come in handy when trying to edit the curves at the end of a tiny round serif. CorelDraw can zoom to 400,000%, which is probably excessive, but a LITTLE more magnification in FL would be helpful.

Finally, from time to time, I get reports back of Mac PS fonts on OS 9 displaying not a preview of the font in question, but of a sans-serif system font. The cause, I believe, is a FOND ID # conflict (TypeTool/FL default is 128), so the problem is easy enough to fix. However, it would also be quite convenient if there were a way (like, just pressing a button) to tie the FOND ID # to the unique PSID number (hash/add 6000 to the last 4 digits/whatever) to lessen the chance that this problem would occur. Again, no biggy, but it would be helpful.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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Ditch the limo (more like an RV, actually). It’s summer, take your bike.
Fontlab would be a mistake for a short program — too complicated.

I would recommend TypeTool or Fontographer, which has a very good Mac interface, and is a more direct design tool.

Many type designers still use Fontographer for creating glyphs and basic metrics/kerning. While it cannot make OpenType fonts, it’s unlikely that you will get that far, and the Type 1 and TrueType fonts that Fontographer makes are perfectly serviceable.

Adam Twardoch's picture
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“I am the only designer using FL on my computer, so it would be convenient if the program would remember my personal URL, website URL and licensing info…no biggy, but it would be convenient. ”

The appropriate way to do this is to have a .vfb file to use as a template. In FLS5, there will be an option that will open a .vfb file of user’s choice instead of a blank font when the user chooses File / New. In essence, this will work like Word templates.

“However, it would also be quite convenient if there were a way (like, just pressing a button) to tie the FOND ID # to the unique PSID number (hash/add 6000 to the last 4 digits/whatever) to lessen the chance that this problem would occur.”

There is no way that we can come up with a numbering scheme that will please everybody. Practically everybody will want the “hashing” to work differently. So that’s really something for a tiny little Python script. In fact, you can put any Python commands e.g. into the save.py file within your FontLab folder, and then the commands will be executed whenever a FontLab file is saved. You could put such a scriptlet that ties FOND ID to Unique ID there, and forget about running it manually.

Regards,
Adam

Thomas Phinney's picture
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Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
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You don’t need a UniqueID. They are far more trouble than they are worth. Adobe stopped putting them in our western fonts several years back, when our testing showed no significant performance differences for fonts without UniqueIDs.

Back when printers had 8 MHz processors and data was sent to them on a 57K pipeline, the caching really did help. Today, not so much so.

As for FOND IDs, they have their own problems, in that the ID range also indicates the encoding. So even if you want to keep UniqueIDs, tying them to the FOND IDs seems like a bad idea.

Regards,

T

Frank E. Blokland's picture
Joined: 28 Mar 2003 - 12:31pm
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’[…] the outline cleanup features in DTL’s ContourMaster Light are superior to anything else out there, but … their 15000-units-to-the-em measurement system causes some ‘point shift [….]’

The assumption that the default em-square for the BE (Bezier) format is 15000 like the default em for the IK format, is probably caused by the BE glyph database of the FM Demo Font, which is enclosed in the FM installers. The reason that this BE file has the same em as the IK version, is that this made it possible to enclose only one UFM for both formats. This underlines how versatile a separate naming and metrics file is, but I must honestly admit that it never occurred to me that this would result in the idea that everything in FM is based on 15000 units. Although very occasionally FM will convert internally the format to an em of 15000, all functions very well with whatever em. For instance DTL ContourMaster works perfectly with an em of 1000 and there is no need to do any conversion beforehand. All of the DTL glyph databases in BE format have an em of 1000. For Ikarus the default is however 15000 units and in case analog data is manually digitized (which we still often do), 100 units correspond to 1 centimeter.

For version 2.1.3 of FM, the BE glyph database for the FM Demo Font has been set to 1000. See also <http://www.typophile.com/forums/messages/4101/70410.html>.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Thomas,

If you read my last post carefully, you’ll see my suggestion was to add 6,000 to the last 4 digits of the PSID (no greater than 9,999), which would result in a number well within what I believe is the accepted range for regular encoding. And, although PSIDs may be passe, they remain handy for assigning unique SKU numbers to one’s fonts.

And…while YOU’RE on the line, has Acrobat 7 addressed the issue of Acrobat and Illustrator not being able to agree on what Times New Roman Bold should be called? I work in the prepress department of a printing company, and the unwashed public gives us LOTS of MS Word documents (most of which, unimaginatively, use the default font) that have to go into the production pipeline. PDF format is, of course, the easiest way of integrating these documents into our workflow UNTIL you exercise the “Edit Objects” option in Acrobat 6. Illustrator CS consistently does not recognize TNR Bold (Roman and Italic, yes, so go figure), and substitutes Myriad (no choice in the matter, either, another of Illustrator’s irksome qualities). One would think, by this point, that Adobe’s various products would have learned to play nice with each other.

Christian's picture
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Just for fun, here are a couple scripts that I will be using to export my fonts from Illustrator to FontLab. I might even prefer this over ScanFont.

Here is the Illustrator JavaScript that will take any selected illustrator objects and roll them into EPS files suitable for import into FontLab. The script assumes that the baseline of the characters is the bottom edge of the artboard, and that the characters are designed at 1/10 scale. Only the selected characters will export. By default, the script exports to a folder named epsexport on the desktop, but this can be changed to any directory.

 
if ( app.documents.length > 0 ) {

var transformAmmount = 10;
var saveOpts = new EPSSaveOptions();
saveOpts.compatibility = Compatibility.ILLUSTRATOR8;

var doc = app.activeDocument;
var sel = doc.selection;

for(var i = 0; i < sel.length; i ++){
var letter = sel[i].duplicate();
var ttop = letter.top*transformAmmount;

tdoc = app.documents.add();
letter.moveToBeginning(tdoc);

letter.width = letter.width * transformAmmount;
letter.height = letter.height * transformAmmount;
letter.top = ttop;
letter.left = 0;

var newFile = new File('~/Desktop/epsexport/char_'+i+'.eps');
tdoc.saveAs( newFile, saveOpts );

tdoc.close( SaveOptions.DONOTSAVECHANGES );


}
}
This is the python script that will import a series of eps files into glyphs in FontLab. The EasyDialogs.AskFolder function only works on the mac, but you could easily just enter the path of the directory in its stead.

 
import EasyDialogs
import os
import re

dir = EasyDialogs.AskFolder()
filearray = os.listdir(dir)

for eps in filearray:
print eps
if (re.search('eps',eps)):
g = Glyph()
g = g.LoadEPS(dir+":"+eps)
g.name = eps

r = g.GetBoundingRect()

p = Point()
p.x = r.width
g.SetMetrics(p)

fl.font.glyphs.append(g)

fl.UpdateFont()



Enjoy!

Jason Alejandro's picture
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Joined: 18 Apr 2005 - 7:59am
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I think I look forward to the day I am able to decipher that.

Thomas Phinney's picture
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Nick,

I did read your message carefully. My point is that your default behavior would only work for MacRoman encoding, and would generate defective fonts for other encodings.

Additionally, UniqueIDs should not be arbitrary, except for limited private use. Adobe maintains a registry of UniqueIDs; people can and should get UniqueIDs assigned by Adobe if they are going to use them in retail fonts. Otherwise you’re just playing Russian roulette on a larger scale.

Using a UniqueID as the basis for a SKU does not make technical sense, unless you are never going to revise your fonts, or you’d change SKUs every time you do a bug fix or revision.

I don’t know about your Acrobat/Illustrator problem, but I can say from the description that I suspect the problem is on Illustrator’s side. So I doubt that Acrobat 7 will have fixed anything.

Regards,

T

Jason Alejandro's picture
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Joined: 18 Apr 2005 - 7:59am
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Nick,
I have a couple other questions:
Will TypeTool allow me to design and build an entirely new font? Does it (TypeTool) support OpenType? And, how is its usability in accordance with Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop?

I am particularly interested in typographic design and creating fonts, which is the reason I am one of only two students to participate in this program. By the way, can anyone explain how difficult Type 1, TrueType, and/or OpenType fonts are to make? Why is one more difficult to create than the others, etc? I’m sure there are a lot of specifics, but basically, in general, what are things to keep in mind?

Sorry, for all the questions, just genuinely interested, that’s all.

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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I don’t think that TypeTool supports OpenType. Fontographer certainly does not support OpenType, although unicode values can be assigned, I believe.

I would only recommend using Fontographer if you already have a copy. Spending the money to buy it would just be a total waste. If you buy TypeTool, you can upgrade to the full FontLab package later.

Nick is severely more advanced as a type designer than I am. But I have found FontLab a dream to use. I switched from Fontographer two months ago, and have not experienced one single problem. Having a copy of Leslie Carbarga’s Learn FontLab Fast by my side made the “learning curve” a non issue.

Peter Howe's picture
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Joined: 11 Oct 2004 - 3:36pm
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I am digitsing a face at present and am using Fontlab to complete this process. I know Fontographer in part, but would sooner use Fontlab–therein I can't find a guide in my local typographic book sellers, where could I buy a copy?

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Joined: 16 Apr 2005 - 10:57am
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I would concur with Dan on this one. While there are many type designers that still use Fontographer, it’s mostly because they are old, and don’t want to learn new tools. :-) If you are going to learn a new tool anyway, you might as well learn one that’s going to be around for a while. What’s more, FontLab is not more complicated to learn than Fontographer. In fact, I think it’s easier by far.

Jason Alejandro's picture
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Joined: 18 Apr 2005 - 7:59am
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Fortunately, money is not the issue because the grant we received from the university will more than cover any software. I have a feeling my Faculty advisor will end using Fontographer simply because he has never heard of FontLab.

Beyond that, though, I intend to use TypeTool for myself and then when I can personally afford FontLab, I’ll spring for it. There should be like an academic version shouldn’t there?

Thomas Phinney's picture
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Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
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It would be a shame if your school bought Fontographer at this point. Currently, it is an antique, obsolete product. (I say this based on previous history — I can’t say what will happen after Adobe acquires Macromedia. But you’re making a decision based on the current application, not the possible future.)

TypeTool and FontLab are reasonable options.

I will, however, beg to differ with Christian; I do believe FontLab is more complicated and harder to learn than Fontographer.

Regards,

T

Thomas Phinney
Program Manager
Fonts & Core Technologies
Adobe Systems

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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>it’s mostly because they are old, and don’t want to learn new tools. :-)<
All of us old geezers are not that stuck in a rut.;-) I started out using paint and brush, then Font Studio (which I fondly remember), then Fontographer. A year ago I bought FontLab and straight away did an OpenType font. It isn’t all that tough. Scim the boards here and get Leslie’s book if you need help. You will be up and glyphing in no time—even quicker if you are under 30 :-)

ChrisL
Resident decrepid old geezer (Pass the depends Margaret.)

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Thomas,

Resuming after the caesura...MY point is that people who generate fonts with different encodings are doubtless aware of the FOND ID # issue, and would address it accordingly. My suggestion was predicated on what I suspect are the vast majority of cases where Mac Roman encoding is desired. A default setting or procedure that generates a FOND ID number that is less likely to conflict with system fonts could, and would, be overridden if circumstances so require. I am not suggesting that one size fits all, but it would be more convenient if one size fit most.

And, yes, I do obtain Unique PSIDs from Adobe, and I do use them. And using PSIDs as SKU numbers may not work for everybody in all instances (I don't believe I suggested that they would), but they do work for me.

Adam Twardoch's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2002 - 7:36pm
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I wanted to point out this: http://typophile.com/node/12277

:)

Best,
Adam

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Great news, Adam. It will be interesting to revisit the particular subject under discussion here a year or so from now...

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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You can download a PDF of the FontLab userguide for free at http://www.fontlab.com. Leslie Carbarga's book Learn FontLab Fast can be ordered directly from his website, http://www.logofontandlettering.com.

__
www.typeoff.de

Peter Howe's picture
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Joined: 11 Oct 2004 - 3:36pm
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That's fantastic thankyou. What a wonderful resource this is.

Levon Kardashian's picture
Joined: 18 Feb 2005 - 2:42pm
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This is a reply to the original post. Sorry to interrupt all the discussion.

Now that FOG is owned by FontLab, I think it is best to wait until FL upgrades it. I am sure if they keep the simplicity of FOG and incorporate the technology of FL it will be a very good tool.